A new look at distance learning and teaching music.
Homework is a prototype of distance learning.
Many teachers, sending a student to study, prepare themselves for the worst. Of course, there are exceptions. However, if we are speaking of the majority . . .
As driving instructors say: On the road, it’s better to assume that every driver is careless. It is safer this way!
That is why experienced teachers never have high hopes for a student when they send him to practice his piano lessons at home. The main anticipation we keep in mind is just that our student won’t forget and “misinterpret” what was created in the class with the hard work of a teacher.
Will the child receive any help from the parents? Hm . . . A double-edged sword. Sometimes it is better to get no help at all than to have parents intervene and give a confused message. Besides, many parents would love to help but have no music education.
The perfect student--What is he like?
We would like to spend our lesson time with the student and give everything to the fullest; we get the result of a “plowman,” the seeds of knowledge of which would fall on the prepared soil. We want the student to come to the next lesson--and not only not lose, but multiply what we managed to give him.
Ideally, we want to receive more credit, giving the student everything we know and that we can do regardless of the low salary and constant dissatisfaction with ourselves. This is a rule of thumb of our profession. Often an excellent result compensates for the low income. A teacher is a profession of selflessness.
Therefore, if a student from lesson to lesson brings less than he “received” from us, we understand that our contribution is “Sisyphus’s labor,” and this causes each teacher not only dissatisfaction with his profession, but often deep disappointments and even emotional wounds.
The frustration of a professional musician. What is it?
This is not customary to talk about and not customary to write about. If the student has not learned the homework in mathematics or geography, this is a problem of education. However, if a student has not coped with homework in a music class--this is the personal responsibility of a teacher.
How does the teacher perceive the unpreparedness of the student?
First, a music teacher voluntarily or involuntarily casts doubt on his pedagogical abilities.
Second, a slow student is not only the lost emotions, enthusiasm and creative investment of the teacher. This is monetarily loss. Lost investment of the parents to whom you feel guilty. In addition, a potentially lost student. Eventually he will leave - you will lose income.
Nevertheless, the worst thing for teachers is the third: they understand that any student who drops out will voluntarily or involuntarily carry the bad news about them as teachers and music lessons in general.
Globally, the number of people who want to study music is rapidly falling due to the fact that people increasingly prefer social forms of communication and education. Moreover, "social" not only in the ordinary sense, but also virtual communication.
Music teachers, professionals who studied for a long time themselves, put great efforts into their development, today feel depreciated, unclaimed and often separated from the mainstream. A poorly performing student is the last straw for them, which often makes them even look for another profession.
Is distance learning making the situation even worse?
If you take the scheme described above and add distance to it, the situation looks catastrophic. Indeed, most often a student makes his main progress only while in the lesson with the teacher. If you remove that component or weaken it, it requires even more effort and time from a teacher, and the expected result is many times less.
However, distance is still necessary. What does it mean?
Our task is that, upon receiving the assignment, the student can, without the teacher’s direct presence, work independently and successfully complete what we want him to.
The very minimum we expect from a student working in isolation from us is the ability to perform a piece of music by "getting into the right notes on time" at home. If a student begins to play or sing even more confidently in the next lesson, then this is an incentive for everyone. Is not it?
Remote work at home is like a revival for music educators.
Musical development is based on an ear for music.
If there is no musical ear, the teacher needs to do a double job: in the development of both a musical ear and performance technique.
The development of hearing, voice, musical memory and the ability to master a musical text--this is what a student is able to do today by himself.
That is why it is so helpful to have a unique emulation software--the Soft Way to Mozart system.
The Soft Mozart system is based on the obvious fact that the Grand Staff is a system for integrating a sign with a sound. It allows each student at home to see, hear, play, and listen to musical notation on his own.
The key elements in this system are the extensions of the lines and spaces of the Staff, which help to develop universal musical skills applicable to playing any instrument.
The emulation software gives any teacher “confidence in the next lesson.” Even if the child learn to play different other instruments, but practice his music by notes on keys, he has already done a great deal of work at home, which can be relied on in the lesson. The teacher can focus on the development of specific, professional skills, and not pull two carts full of problems at the same time.
Let's look at a few video examples of what was said.
1. A 3-year-old child develops her voice using solfeggio for 5 months.
2. A 2-year-old child develops her hearing in order to master the violin.
3. A 4-year-old child works remotely on mastering a piano piece.
Behind the scenes of each of these videos is the work of a teacher.
Imagine this teacher: will he be disappointed when a child comes to his class after this kind of practice at home?
It is in this sense that the distance between the teacher and the student is necessary! Learning is a two-way road. No need for the teacher to shoulder everything! If students can rely on their own strengths and study at home, develop their skills, hearing, voice, musical memory--this is a gain for everyone.
This approach to homework gives a professional a lot of room for transferring his creative skills, developing a repertoire that it is both delicious and nutritious. Moreover, most importantly: so that everyone's eyes are shining from excitement in such classes. Therefore, teaching music would become a very popular activity both among children, among parents, and in social networks.
Everything else comes and goes, but music is eternal.
Houston, TX May 7, 2020